About

AfID offers every type of accountant, from anywhere in the world the opportunity to use their skills to support a broad range of non-profit organisations globally. Volunteer assignments of between 2 weeks and 12 months, &/or longer permanent placements, form part of our ongoing strategy to build the financial management capacity of charities in over 50 countries. 

AfID have now arranged assignments for over 1000 accountants from 45 countries, providing over 250,000 hours of one to one support to more than 500 non-profit partners.

Our partners, which are a blend of international NGOs and grassroot community based organisations such as street child centres, hospitals, micro-finance organisations, conservation projects, women’s empowerment programmes and schools, are all doing amazing work to tackle extreme poverty and inequality in their communities but due to their limited resources are unable to access vital accounting and financial management training.

The main focus of all AfID assignments is to develop and enhance the skills, confidence and potential of local people, enabling the organisations to ultimately have the financial management capacity they need to deliver more effective and sustainable programmes to their many beneficiaries, whilst maintain good relations with their donors. Our volunteers could be budgeting with a street child centre in Kampala (Uganda), coaching a hospital bookkeeper in Kigali (Rwanda) or financial reporting for a primary school in Kathmandu (Nepal).
The need for support from skilled accountants is largely driven by a lack of training at a local level, combined with the complex reporting requirements of overseas donors. Donors will typically restrict their funding to specific items on a project’s budget and limit the allocation for essential core costs. Most grass root charities struggle to afford qualified accounting personnel or even access appropriate training for their existing team. When you are a headmistress, a doctor or a nun trying to run an small NGO with very limited resources, it can be very difficult to keep accurate records and perform your normal duties; with a different set of accounts, reporting formats and sometimes bank accounts required by each of your donors, you clearly need support.
 
It is not uncommon for our partners to spend many hours, sometimes days adding figures to complex and confusing Excel spreadsheets, with little working knowledge of the software. In a short time a volunteer could conceivably give back valuable time to front line staff by offering guidance, simplifying reporting methods and assisting with donor queries. In many ways the role of our volunteers is therefore often much more about consultation and mentoring rather than day to day accounting. Real sustainable impact can be achieved in a far shorter timeframe than that of traditional broad focussed volunteer placements. This means volunteering is now a realistic prospect for employed, career-minded professionals.
 
With over 500 partner organisations all at different stages of development the complexity of the input required will vary from the absolute basics through to much more strategic and complex modifications. This means there will always be a need for accountants from all backgrounds with different levels of experience. All will need to adapt the knowledge they take for granted and adapt it accordingly so local staff can apply it in a sustainable manner. Here lies the biggest challenge for an AfID volunteer.
 
If you are a non-profit organisation or social enterprise and you would like to know more about the services AfID provide partners please visit the AfID Partners Site.

Career opportunities in the International Development sector

In response to the growing number of requests from our many partners AfID is now supporting charities and social enterprises with their permanent accounting recruitment needs. After placing nearly 1000 volunteer accountants across 53 countries, developing a great deal of expertise, it seemed sensible to assist both our partners and accountants seeking a rewarding career in the sector. 
 
UK Volunteering

In response to the many requests for help from our UK based charity partners and the generous offer of support from our network of qualified accountants, we are now offering UK based charities a UK Volunteer Accountant Programme. The programme is designed to give charities with limited resources access to pro-bono qualified accounting expertise. For more information click.